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                          TECHNICAL PAPER #12
                         UNDERSTANDING POULTRY
                             MEAT AND EGG
                             Dr. H.R. Bird
                        Technical Reviewers
                          Leonard Z. Eggleton
                              Ralph Ernst
                            Herman Pinkston
                   1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 500
                     Arlington, Virginia 22209 USA
                 Tel: 703/276-1800 . Fax: 703/243-1865
           Understanding Poultry Meat and Egg Production
                        ISBN: 0-86619-212-3
            [C]1984, Volunteers in Technical Assistance
This paper is one of a series published by Volunteers in Technical
Assistance to provide an introduction to specific state-of-the-art
technologies of interest to people in developing countries.
The papers are intended to be used as guidelines to help
people choose technologies that are suitable to their situations.
They are not intended to provide construction or implementation
details.  People are urged to contact VITA or a similar organization
for further information and technical assistance if they
find that a particular technology seems to meet their needs.
The papers in the series were written, reviewed, and illustrated
almost entirely by VITA Volunteer technical experts on a purely
voluntary basis.  Some 500 volunteers were involved in the production
of the first 100 titles issued, contributing approximately
5,000 hours of their time.  VITA staff included Leslie Gottschalk
and Maria Giannuzzi as editors, Julie Berman handling typesetting
and layout, and Margaret Crouch as project manager.
Dr. H.R. Bird, the author of this paper, is a professor emeritus
and former chairman of the Department of Poultry Science at the
University of Wisconsin.  He has taught poultry nutrition, feeding,
management, and general animal nutrition at the Universities
of Wisconsin and Maryland.  He has also consulted on these topics
in Brazil, Indonesia, Belize, and Nepal. Leonard Z. Eggleton is
the Chairman of Agricultural Projects with the Iowa-Yucatan
Peninsula Partners project at Iowa State University.   He has
consulted on poultry in Uruguay and Mexico.   Ralph Ernst is a
Poultry Specialist with the cooperative extension program of the
Department of Avian Sciences, University of California at Davis.
He has worked with game bird, duck, and turkey producers.  Herman
Pinkston is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who worked in animal
husbandry in the Philippines, which included developing a vaccine
program for poultry, engaging in incubation of eggs, and raising
VITA is a private, nonprofit organization that supports people
working on technical problems in developing countries.   VITA offers
information and assistance aimed at helping individuals and
groups to select and implement technologies appropriate to their
situations.  VITA maintains an international Inquiry Service, a
specialized documentation center, and a computerized roster of
volunteer technical consultants; manages long-term field projects;
and publishes a variety of technical manuals and papers.
                  By VITA Volunteer Dr. H.R. Bird
Since ancient times, chickens, ducks, and geese have served
farming communities by gleaning the fields of grain that otherwise
would be lost; picking up grain that is dropped by the
wayside in threshing, drying, and transportation; making productive
use of the scraps from the family table; and, supplementing
those feed items by foraging for grass, weed seeds, and insects.
With such a diet these animals are able to produce eggs and meat,
which provide protein of high quality plus several essential
vitamins and mineral elements.   Eggs and meat are ideal supplements
for the cereal grains, tubers, and roots that provide much
of the energy in many human diets.
Besides being recoverers of waste grain and users of scraps and
by-products, poultry can function to provide a food reserve.  Any
farming community that can do so would like to produce more grain
than the people need.  Maybe the excess can be sold; but, if not,
it can be fed to poultry.  Then if there is decreased production
of grain in a certain year, the poultry flock can be decreased
instead of decreasing the grain that is supplied to the people.
Small flocks of poultry--from a few birds to a few hundred--were
the rule all around the world, until the 20th Century.   In the
early 1900s, flocks numbering in the thousands began to appear in
North America and Europe.  In the 1920s and 1930s, geneticists,
nutritionists, physiologists, and disease specialists developed
improved breeds and strains of chicken and improved methods of
feeding and managing them and protecting them against disease.
The rapid introduction of new technologies so increased the efficiency
of producing eggs and poultry meat that costs to consumers
went down at a time when prices for most other consumer goods
were climbing.
This paper addresses the following important questions to help
you decide whether poultry raising is for you:
    *   How can poultry flock owners in developing countries
       take advantage of modern technology?
    *   Is it better to use native birds or import improved
       modern strains?
    *   Is it possible with local feedstuffs to approximate the
       composition and the efficiency of feeds based on corn
       (maize) and soybean meal?
    *   Can vaccines, coccidiostats, antibiotics, vitamins, and
       mineral supplements be imported economically?  Can any
       of them be made locally?
    *   Is it possible to make feeding and watering equipment,
       cages, and nests locally?
When one thinks of free-ranging poultry that find their own food,
require no care, and provide food for the family table, one sees
obvious advantages.  However, there are disadvantages too.  Most
communities that take a serious interest in their poultry, practice
some degree of confinement.
Letting poultry range freely is an economical way to provide them
with feed.  On the other hand, it exposes them to predators.
Moreover, they cannot be guaranteed a balanced diet from just
foraging.  To achieve a well-balanced diet, they must be periodically
supplemented with hand-fed food.
Free-ranging poultry are not crowded and therefore may be less
susceptible to disease, but Newcastle disease--a virus that often
plagues poultry--can exterminate even a free-ranging population
and the protozoa that cause coccidiosis live everywhere that
chickens live.  Regardless of whether they are confined or free-ranging,
chickens must be vaccinated or medicated against these
diseases as well as many others.   It is much easier to vaccinate
and treat confined flocks.  Free-ranging poultry do require less
labor than confined poultry, but in finding waste feed and pools
of water they are more likely also to find parasites, bacteria,
and molds.
Free-ranging poultry incubate their own eggs and thus reproduce
themselves, but they may lay eggs in unexpected places so that
some are lost.  Furthermore, the process of becoming broody and
incubating eggs decreases the rate of egg production.   Genetically
improved laying strains are non-broody and often will not
incubate their own eggs.
Confining poultry and providing sanitary feeders and waterers
have a number of advantages:
    *   better control of diseases;
    *   protection from predators;
    *   more efficient collection of eggs; and
    *   easier access to poultry.
The disadvantage of confinement is that poultry can neither glean
nor forage.  In the Orient, to overcome this problem, poultry
attendants drive their flocks of ducks to the rice fields and
then return them to their living quarters.   Similarly, a flock of
chickens can be confined in a house and yard next to a threshing
floor, for example, and let out when there is grain to recover.
Particularly when birds are confined, poultry production can be a
successful enterprise.  There are three distinct production systems
to consider, and each has gone through dramatic changes.
These systems are designed to produce chicken eggs, chicken meat,
and duck meat.  There have not been parallel developments in
goose production.  Most geese are still kept in small flocks and
depend on grazing and gleaning for much of their feed.
The changes in the system involve changes in the birds themselves,
in their feed, in disease control (vaccines, medicines,
sanitary practices) and in equipment and management.
What kinds of birds are best for the enterprise?   This is the
first question the small producer (200 birds or less) will have
to answer.  In many parts of the world there are varieties of
local birds that have been selected, to some degree, for better
production of eggs and meat.   There are also available, in most
areas, chicks of egg strains and meat strains that have been
developed by selection and strain crossing in North America,
Europe, Japan, and Australia.   Imported strain crosses are always
more productive and more uniform than improved local breeds.  But
they are also more expensive and cannot reproduce themselves.
Flock owners must continue to buy chicks, for as long as they use
this kind of stock.
Unfortunately, there appears to be no published information on
the levels of productivity available with local breeds of chickens,
given the advantages of modern feeds, sanitation and management.
Such birds are kept in small confined flocks for egg
production, and both floor pens and battery cages are used for
this purpose.  It is important to cull such flocks to eliminate
the poor egg producers.  The comb and wattles of a good layer are
large, soft, warm, and red.  The vent is enlarged and moist and
the pubic bones are spread apart.   They can be felt, to the
right and left of the vent.  A poor layer or non-layer will have
shrunken, pale, dry comb and wattles, a small dry vent and closely
spaced pubic bones.
Commercial production of eggs and broilers, with flocks numbering
in the thousands, is now widespread and depends entirely on
strain crosses rather than local varieties.   Reports from India
and Pakistan emphasize the importance of imported strain crosses
in the development of their commercial production in those
The establishment of a small flock of ducks is not likely to
involve the same choices as in the case of chickens.   In most
situations one would have to depend on locally available stock of
a local strain.
Poultry feeds usually consist of combinations of energy and
protein sources, which make up 90 percent or more of the total
feed.  The remainder of the feed consists of calcium and phosphate
supplements and salt, which make up two to eight percent; and
trace mineral, vitamin, and amino acid supplements, which make up
one or two percent, or sometimes more.   In the United States, for
example, a feed would consist of corn (maize), which is an excellent
energy source and supplies some protein; soybean meal, which
is a very good protein source and supplies some energy; limestone
(for calcium); dicalcium phosphate (for phosphorus and calcium);
salt; methionine (an amino acid not abundantly provided by soybean
meal); and trace mineral and vitamin supplements.   Trace
mineral and vitamin supplements are shipped all over the world,
and are priced so low that they usually are not major cost items.
Cereal grains and legumes, unlike mineral and vitamin supplements,
are costly to produce and often in short supply in many
developing countries.  Due to their scarcity and to the competition
with human food supplies, their use for poultry feed in the
Third World is usually kept to a minimum.
We noted above that poultry served early farming communities by
utilizing scraps and otherwise wasted food materials.   Modern
poultry can also utilize by-products of food processing.  There is
a prevalent notion that modern high-producing strains of poultry
must have modern high-protein, high-energy diets.   The modern
chicken still functions well on by-product diets even though it
is descended from many generations of ancestors that were fed
high energy, high protein corn-soy diets.   To illustrate, strain-cross
layers in an experiment at the Univeristy of Wisconsin
maintained 67 percent of egg production on the following diet:
         Rice bran                         90.0 percent
         Fish meal                          1.0 percent
         Alfalfa meal                       1.0 percent
         Ground limestone                   5.4 percent
         Iodized salt                       0.5 percent
         Dicalcium phosphate                 1.0 percent
         Methionine hydroxy analogue        0.1 percent
         Vitamin trace - mineral            1.0 percent
         Free choice limestone grit          ---
The vitamin-mineral supplement provided, per kilogram (kg) of
diet:  6000 International Units (I.U.) of vitamin A, 900 International
Chick Units (I.C.U.) of vitamin D3, 22 I.U. of vitamin E,
10 milligrams (mg) of riboflavin, 0.7 mg of folic acid, and 200
mg of zinc carbonate.
Costa (1981) observed good performance with a broiler starter
feed of the following composition:
         Rice bran and polishings               32.5 percent
         Grain sorghum                          30.0 percent
         Soybean meal, solvent process          17.0 percent
         Meat and bone meal                     15.0 percent
         Molasses                                4.0 percent
         Salt                                     0.5 percent
         Vitamin-trace  mineral supplement       1.0 percent
The vitamin trace mineral supplement provided, per kilogram of
diet:  8000 I.U. of vitamin A, 1000 I.C.U. of vitamin D3, 5 I.U.
of vitamin E, 6 mg of menadione sodium bisulfite, 4 mg of riboflavin,
30 mg of niacin, 12 mg of d-pantothenic acid, 301 mg of
choline chloride, 20 micrograms of vitamin B12, 100 mg of BHT, 70
mg of zinc (as zinc oxide), 50 mg of manganese (as manganous
oxide), 0.25 mg of iodine (as ethylene diamine dihydroiodide), 50
mg of iron (as iron sulfate), and .10 mg of selenium (as sodium
The two formulas given above are examples of poultry rations that
would be economically feasible in some areas.   It is beyond the
scope of this report to provide formulas for a wide range of circumstances
or to present a treatise on feed formulation.   Table 1
gives the requirements of different classes of poultry for
energy, protein, calcium, and phosphorus; and Tables 2 and 3,
respectively, give the levels of these nutrients in various feed
ingredients and mineral supplements.   Using this information, one
could calculate formulas to supply these four nutrients.  One
almost always has to add 0.5 percent of salt (NaCl); since most
ingredients do not supply it.   One must also use a vitamin-trace
mineral supplement similar to the one used for adult birds or for
young growing birds in the two diets presented earlier.
              Table 1. Nutrient Requirements of Broilers, Laying
                    Hens, Growing Ducks, and Growing Geese
Type of                Energy          Protein        Calcium       Phosphorus
Poultry              (kcal(*)/kg)     (Percent)      (Percent)       (Percent)
Starting broilers       3200             23.0            0.9             0.7
Laying hens             2850             15.0            3.25            0.5
Growing ducks           2900             16.0            0.6             0.6
Growing geese           2900             15.0            0.6             0.4
(*) Kilocalorie:  a unit of heat energy equal to 1,000 calories.
              Table 2. Composition of Feed Ingredients (as fed)
                    Metabolizable      Crude
Type of Feed           Energy          Protein        Calcium       Phosphorus
Ingredient            (kcal/kg)       (Percent)      (Percent)       (Percent)
Dehydrated alfalfa       1370            17.5          1.44             0.22
Barley                   2640            11.6          0.03             0.36
Beans, field             2300            23.0          0.13             0.6
Brewers' grains          2080            25.3          0.29             0.52
Cane molasses            1960             7.8          1.10             0.12
Cassava meal             ----             2.6          ----             0.03
Coconut (copra)  meal    1773             20.7          0.21            0.62
Corn (maize)             3430             8.8          0.02             0.28
Cottonseed meal,
  solvent process        2400             41.4          0.15            0.97
Crab meal                1819             31.4        15.0             1.57
Distillers' grains
  with solubles           2480             27.2         0.17            0.72
Fish meal                2820            60.5          5.11             2.88
Meat and bone meal       1960            50.4         10.1              4.96
Millet                   ----            12.2          0.05             0.28
Mustard seed meal        ----            31.9          ----             ----
Palm nut meal            ----            18.2          ----             0.68
Peanut (groundnut)
  meal, solvent process  2200             50.7         0.20            0.63
Poultry by-product
  meal                    2670             58.0          3.0             1.7
Rapeseed meal,
  expeller process       2040             35.0         0.72             1.09
Rice bran                1630            12.9          0.07             1.50
Sesame meal,
  expeller process       2210             43.8          1.99            1.37
Sorghum grain            3370             8.9          0.03            0.28
Soybean meal,
  solvent process        2230             44.0          0.29            0.65
Sunflower seed meal,
  solvent process
  dehulled                2320             45.4         0.37            1.0
Sweet potato meal        ----             4.9         0.15            0.15
Wheat, soft              3120            10.2          0.06             0.31
Wheat bran               1300            15.7          0.14             1.15
Wheat middlings          1800            16.0          0.12             0.90
                  Table 3. Composition of Mineral Supplements
           Type of Feed                Calcium            Phosphorus
           Ingredient                 (Percent)           (Percent)
           Bone meal                      29                  12.6
           Defluorinated phosphate        32                 18
           Dicalcium phosphate            21                   8.5
           Limestone                      38                  0
           Oyster shell                   38                   0
By-product feeds vary greatly depending on the method of processing.
Processing methods are well standardized in developed countries,
but may be highly variable in developing countries.   The
resulting products may also be highly variable and quite different
from those listed in Table 2.
Some feed ingredients have special disadvantages that must be
noted.  Cottonseed meal contains gossypol, which discolors egg
yolks and inhibits growth of young birds.   Cooking the meal during
processing decreases the free gossypol and results in a product
that is usually satisfactory for growing birds but may still
discolor yolks.  Mustard seed meal contains a growth inhibitor
and should not represent more than five percent of the diet.
Rapeseed meal contains a goitrogenic compound that interferes
with thyroid function, and also should not represent more than
five percent of the diet, unless improved strains of the plant
are used.
Soybeans contain an inhibitor of one of the important amino
acids, trypsin, which, interferes with digestion but can be destroyed
by cooking.  The processing of soybean meal is now so well
standardized that this inhibitor is seldom a problem.
To know whether soybean meal is cooked thoroughly enough, follow
this simple procedure:
    *   Place 10 teaspoons (about 30 grams) of the meal in a
       small jar with a tight lid.
    *   Add 1 teaspoon (about 4 grams) of fertilizer grade or
       feed grade urea and 5 teaspoons of water.
    *   Stir the contents and cover the jar with the lid.
    *   Wait 20 minutes.   Sniff for the odor of ammonia.
    *   If ammonia is present, the soybean meal contains the
       enzyme urease and has not been heated enough.
Field beans (navy, pinto, kidney, etc.), like soybeans, contain a
growth-inhibiting material which can be destroyed by cooking.
The information provided here is intended to help in evaluating
the feasibility of starting a poultry production enterprise as an
important source of food and income.   Now you must ask yourself:
What feeds are available locally, at what volume, and at what
price?  Are they, or substitutes, available year round?  Can they
be combined to make a suitable formula, or will other ingredients
have to be shipped in from other areas?   If you are considering a
medium-sized or large-scale operation, you should get local feed
ingredients analyzed.  The final test of the quality of the
ingredients and the formulation is how well the poultry perform.
No poultry business can succeed very long unless measures are
taken to control diseases.  With this in mind, here are some
general guidelines that will help in maintaining a healthy flock:
    *   Feeding poultry a well-balanced diet will prevent them
       from developing deficiency diseases.  To illustrate how
       important this is, note that a marked deficiency in the
       ration may retard growth, decrease the rate of egg
       production, and lower resistance to infections.
    *   Whether your poultry flock is large or small, it is a
       good idea to keep it separated as much as possible from
       other poultry.  Do not encourage visitors.  Do not
       "change help" with neighbors who have poultry.  Do not
       buy adult or half-grown birds and add them to your
       flock.   If a flock is purchased, birds should be isolated
       for a period of 5 to 15 days for observation.
       Raise young birds separately from mature stock.
    *   When selling birds, empty the poultry house completely.
       Clean it thoroughly, wash with a disinfectant (e.g.,
       lye), and let it stand empty for four weeks before putting
       in new birds.
    *   Provide your poultry with clean, sanitary waterers and
       feeders, and well-ventilated houses.
    *   For birds housed in floor pens, provide litter such as
       wood shavings, straw, sawdust, rice hulls, or similar
       materials.  Provide sufficient ventilation to keep the
       litter dry enough so the birds can scratch in it.  It
       should not be wet or sticky.
    *   If your birds are housed in cages, the cages should be
       constructed with a slatted bottom to allow manure to
       fall through to the floor.  For small numbers of birds,
       the manure can be collected in pans, which must be
       scraped and cleaned once or twice each week.  The manure
       can be composted and used to fertilize your crops or
       sold as fertilizer.  The sale of recycled manure can be
       an important source of income.  For large flocks, the
       cages are arranged so that the manure falls on the
       ground or floor where it can be allowed to accumulate
       for several months or possibly even one year.  Longer
       periods of accumulation are possible in dry rather than
       humid climates.  If manure becomes wet, fly breeding may
       occur.   This is usually best controlled by weekly removal
       and processing (drying, composting, etc.) of manure.
       It may also be necessary to add an insecticide to the
       manure under the cages to prevent development of flies.
       Local authorties should be consulted to learn which
       pesticides are permitted.
Table 4 presents a general vaccination and medication schedule

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for chickens.  It is not necessary to follow the entire schedule
at all times in all locations.   In tropical areas, it is safe to
assume that Newcastle virus is present and to vaccinate against
it.  Furthermore, the strains of the virus that occur in the
tropics are commonly more virulent and more damaging than those
in temperate areas.  Therefore it is sometimes recommended that
poultry farmers use a Newcastle vaccine produced locally rather
than an imported product.
Fowl cholera and fowl pox are two common diseases found all over
the world, but this does not necessarily mean that they are
prevalent in your areas.  So, inquire first before starting a
vaccination or inoculation program.   Fowl pox is caused by a
virus; fowl cholera is caused by a bacterium.
As shown in Table 4, vaccines are available against infectious
bronchitis and Marek's disease.   Both of these are caused by
viruses, but are less likely to cause trouble than Newcastle
disease, fowl cholera, or fowl pox.
The microscopic protozoan organisms that cause coccidiosis are
present wherever there are chickens. Young chickens encounter
these organisms early in life and may show bloody diarrhea,
weight loss, sluggishness, and ruffled feathers. The number of
deaths may be few or it may be many. Most survivors will recover
and carry some degree of resistance to the organism thereafter.
Drugs known as coccidiostats protect against this disease and are
widely available. Maintenance of dry conditions in pens will
minimize this disease.
Chickens kept on the ground or in floor pens are always exposed
to intestinal worms (ascarids). Chickens may carry considerable
numbers of the parasites without showing disease symptoms, but a
heavy infestation decreases egg production.
Ducks are affected by fewer diseases than chickens. They may
harbor roundworms and tapeworms without showing symptoms. Such
infestations may cause problems if ducks have access to stagnant
water or muddy, poorly drained soil.
If disease is suspected, it is desirable to seek expert advice,
including diagnosis and possible post-mortem examination.
During its first week of life, a baby chick should have access to
a brooding area at a temperature of 32 to 35[degrees]C. After the first
week, the temperature can be decreased 2 to 3[degrees] each week. The
typical small square poultry house is about six or seven meters
on a side. It will house 400 broilers or 100 layers. Early
attempts to increase the size of poultry farms were achieved by
increasing the number of houses, but it was obviously more labor-efficient
to increase the size of the house. However, even in
temperate climates with moderate rainfall it is difficult to
ventilate a house that is more than 13 meters wide. For the
humid tropics, 10 meters is probably the limit. The length is
limited only by the topography of the land or the poultry owner's
bank account. In the tropics, the house may well be open on one
or both sides except for wire netting or woven wire. A house
open on both sides should be equipped with a canvas that can be
pulled up or let down on the windward side in order to prevent
drafts at night and during storms. The house should be closed at
both ends, and it should have a floor and a gable roof, which
should provide at least 0.8 meter of overhang on each side. A
covered opening at the peak of the roof can be used to provide
Roosts are not required but are often preferred to make upkeep
easier. A laying house that has a solid wall on one side may have
a row of roosts arranged against the wall. The front, or lower,
row should be about 0.8 meters above the floor. Two or more additional
rows of roosts go between it and the wall, with each roost
slightly higher than the one in front. The area under the roosts
may be closed with wire netting to prevent access by the chickens.
It then serves to collect most of the droppings without
giving the chickens access to them.
If both front and back of the house are open, movable roosts may
be provided along the center line of the house, or to the front
or back. If the house is more than about 20 meters long, nests
can be installed not only along the ends but also along partitions.
Nests should be about 30 centimeters (cm) square and 30 cm high.
They are usually arranged in rows two to three tiers high. There
should be a perch below the entrance of each nest, and the lowest
row of nests should be about 0.5 meter above the floor. There
should be about one nest for every four layers.
Nests for ducks should be on the floor, one nest for each four or
five birds. Partitions between nests are 30 cm by 35 cm. They
are fastened at 28-cm intervals to a 15-cm board at the back
along the house walls and have a 5-cm board along the bottom
front. This leaves the top and front open.
Feeding troughs can be made of bamboo, wooden boards, pottery, or
metal. Mechanical feeders are available for large flocks. Waterers
can be made from bamboo or from recycled glass or metal
containers, or automatic watering devices may be purchased. Allow
3 cm of feeder space per chicken in the first three weeks of
life, then 5 cm until they are eight weeks old, and 9 to 10 cm
after that. A feeder 100 cm long provides 200 cm of feeder
In temperate and subtropical zones, it is customary to provide
artificial light for layers. A 14-hour day is optimal for egg
production. This may not be necessary in equatorial regions. In
Java, for example, strains imported from the United States
achieve the same annual egg production without lights as they do
in the United States with lights. Day length varies by only a
few minutes throughout the year in Java. However, at the latitude
of Delhi, India, day length varies annually (from 10 hours
20 minutes to 13 hours 57 minutes) and artifical lighting is beneficial.
In every poultry house, cleaning and refilling waterers and
feeders should be the first maintenance task in the morning.
Clean waterers every day, whether they are automatic or handfilled.
If they are hand-filled, they must be filled often
enough so that water is always available. Feeders should never
be empty, but they should not be overly full either. Adding feed
frequently encourages the birds to eat and prevents waste.
In a laying house, eggs should be collected at least four times a
day: morning, noon, afternoon and late afternoon. Making a
second collection in the morning would be even better.
The following additional daily chores are recommended:
     *     Dispose of dead birds.
     *     Observe nest boxes. Clean when necessary. Add litter.
     *     Remove wet litter around waterers.
     *     Observe height of feed hoppers. Edge of trough
          should be at level of birds' backs. Adjust when necessary.
     *     Add limestone or oyster shell to hoppers when needed.
     *     Sweep down wire netting.
     *     Watch for evidence of rodents, and eliminate them.
     *     Add disinfectant to foot bath or pad at entrance to
     *     Watch for sick birds.
     *     Observe condition of litter. Stir when necessary, perhaps
     *     Observe light bulbs. Clean when necessary.
     *     If electric fans are used for ventilation, clean blades
          and oil motor.
The following are recurring specialized jobs that require extra
     *     Distribute day-old birds in the house.
     *     Move pullets from growing house to laying house.
     *     Catch broilers (or old hens) and send them to market.
     *     Vaccinate against poultry diseases.
Thirty years ago in the United States, two hours per year of
labor were required for each laying hen kept, and one hour of
labor for each pullet raised. Now it is customary to calculate
about seven minutes per year of labor for each laying hen and
four or five minutes for each pullet raised. This dramatic
change resulted from mechanization, larger flocks, the change
from floor pens to laying cages, and some miscellaneous improvements
in the organization of the operation. In many parts of the
world, existing economic and social structures favor labor-intensive
rather than capital-intensive operations. In those situations,
the labor requirement will lie somewhere between the
extremes indicated.
Gather eggs several times each day (see section on "Labor Requirements").
Clean eggs with a clean, damp cloth or in an egg
washer. If an egg washer is used, the water should be slightly
warmer than the temperature of the eggs and should contain a
detergent-sanitizer. Eggs should be as fresh as possible when
consumed or sold. For whatever time they are held before use,
they should be placed small end down in a cool place, preferably
a refrigerator.
Kill chickens the same day the meat is to be used unless a
refrigerator is available to keep the meat from spoiling. To
kill chickens, hang them by their feet and cut across the veins
in the throat with a sharp knife. Let all of the blood drain
into a container. The blood can be cooked, dried, and added to
feed for other chickens.
To remove feathers, place the bird (after it has been bled) in
water at 60[degrees]C. That temperature is well below boiling, but too
hot to put your hand in. As soon as the feathers are well soaked
with hot water, pluck them as quickly as possible.
De-feathering ducks is more difficult than de-feathering chickens.
Slightly higher scalding temperatures are used for ducks.
The temperature of the water should not be above 65[degrees]C and the
length of scald varies from one and a half to three minutes.
In hand-scalding, grasp the bill with one hand and the legs with
the other hand and submerge the rest of the body, breast downward,
in the water. The bird is then pulled repeatedly through
the water against the feathers.
Because costs vary so much from area to area, it is impossible to
make accurate generalizations. The operating cost breakdowns for
egg production and broiler production in the United States and
India are shown in Tables 5 and 6. In all cases, the major cost
item is feed. A large part of the increase in efficiency of poultry
meat and egg production is the result of more efficient conversion
of feed to product. About 2 kg of feed are now required
to produce 1 kg of broiler; 50 years ago, 4.5 kg of feed were
required. And while about 1.7 kg of feed are required now to
produce one dozen eggs, 50 years ago, 2.3 kg of fed were needed.
                        Table 5. Egg Production Costs
                                       India             United States
                                 (Percent of Total)    (Percent of Total)
Pullet cost                             21.6                   20.4
Feed                                    51.9                   58.2
Depreciation of
 buildings and equipment                6.9                    9.2
Labor                                    2.6                    4.9
Miscellaneous                           17.0                   7.3
                        Table 6. Broiler Production Costs
                                         India               United States
                                   (Percent of Total)      (Percent of Total)
Chick                                     26.4                   19.4
Feed                                       44.4                   73.6
Contract grower                             --                     1.7
Labor                                       2.9                     --
Depreciation                                5.5                     --
Miscellaneous                              20.8                    5.3
The cost of baby chicks has gone up with inflation, but genetic
improvement has increased productivity so that chick cost per
unit of product has remained nearly the same.
It is difficult to compare labor costs for broilers. In the
United States, the contract grower furnishes some labor, and some
is provided by special crews under "miscellaneous." The feed is
delivered into an automatic feeding system, so some labor cost is
included in the feed cost. High interest rates contribute to the
high miscellaneous costs in India. In the United States, broiler
costs may allow for depreciation under "Miscellaneous" and/or
"Contract grower," but the allowance appears to be inadequate.
Table 7 summarizes the poultry requirements for small-, medium-,
and large-scale poultry operations. Note, however, that all
poultry farms, regardless of size, should try to use modern
disease control methods. Modern vaccines and medications are
widely distributed in many parts of the world.
                 Table 7. Requirements for Egg or Meat Production
                          According to Flock Size
                     Less than             200-1000          More than
                     200 Birds             Birds              1000 Birds
Stock                Local or imported     Imported          Imported
                     strain-cross          strain-cross      strain-cross
Feed                 Crop residues,        Formulated        Formulated
                     table scraps, local   feed               feed
                     by-products or        emphasizing       emphasizing
                     formulated feed       local              local
                                           by-products        by-products
Disease              Isolation,            Isolation,        Isolation,
Control              sanitation,           sanitation,        sanitation,
                     vaccination,          vaccination,      vaccination,
                     medication            medication        medication
Buildings            Homemade              Homemade          Homemade or
and                                                           commercial
Labor                Family                Family or         Hired or
                                           hired              mechanized
Even the smallest poultry farm can practice isolation and sanitation.
Small operations may choose between local and imported
stock and between formulated feed and a feeding program based on
what is available from day to day. Large operations will surely
use imported stock and formulated feed.
Small units will use homemade buildings and equipment and family
labor. Large units may choose either homemade or commercial
equipment and either hired labor or a combination of mechanization
and labor. In some tropical countries laying flocks numbering
in the thousands are housed in homemade, two-level, stair-step
laying cages of bamboo and wood slats. Such cages do not
last long in the tropics, but they can be replaced at relatively
low cost.
Table 8 summarizes the requirements for different classes of
              Table 8. Requirements for Different Masses of Poultry
                                 Chickens                     Ducks
                         Eggs               Meat
Stock              Local or imported    Local or imported   Local
                   strain-cross         strain-cross
Feed               Crop residues,       Crop residues,      Crop residues
                   table scraps,        table scraps,       recovered by
                   local by-            local by-           herding in
                   products, or         products, or        fields, table
                   formulated feed      formulated feed     scraps, local
                                                            formulated feed
Disease            Isolation,           Isolation,          Isolation,
Control            sanitation,          sanitation          sanitation
                   vaccination,         vaccination,
                   medication           medication
Buildings          Homemade or          Homemade or         Homemade or
and                commercial           commercial          commercial
Labor              Family, hired,       Family, hired,      Family, hired,
                   or mechanized        or mechanized        or mechanized
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